Posts tagged ‘salvation’
For those who have been reading the articles on this blog for any length of time, you know that I often come back to this subject of our physical health. It is extremely important and the only thing I can emphasize more consistently and vehemently is our spiritual health. You could be the healthiest person in the world regarding your physical health, but if you do not have salvation, it does you no good. You are still dying without Christ and if that situation does not change, you will enter eternity with a healthy body (relatively speaking), but will spend that eternity without God in Christ. Because of that eternal separation, your body will suffer decay and eternal torment. In that case, does being physically healthy really matter? Not at all, except that you felt good while here on this earth, in this life.
In spite of how healthy people may strive to be in this life, we will all die, won’t we (barring those alive when the Rapture occurs)? Nonetheless, Christians above all people should be physically healthy. No, I’m not saying that God will heal everything that ails you. No, I’m not saying that God will provide great health if you will but simply believe it. I’m saying that something else entirely and by the way, before I get too deeply into this, I’m talking about our overall general health here. I’m not referring to folks who have genetic issues that result in terrible illnesses nor am I talking about people who may develop problems due to some type of car accident or something else, as in the case of Joni, who was a tremendous swimmer and athlete, but one day, dove into the water and broke her neck because she hit bottom, not realizing how shallow it was right there.
What I’m talking about are the things that Christians must do in order to help stave off physical health issues that can and do almost always wind up affecting our mental or emotional stability. I speak from experience because for many years I suffered from several problems that robbed me of good health. Again, those who have read my reports here know some of the history. While I’ll never share all of it, I’ve shared enough that paints a picture of a middle-aged man who was developing several health problems and now I fully understand that most of it was due to how I ate.
I realize that may sound very simplistic, but if you understood what I now understand, having gained tremendous insight over the past nearly three years of study, seeing doctors (including naturopaths), and done everything I could to help myself, you would realize that in too many ways to count, what we eat plays a huge role in how we feel and how healthy (or not) we are in our daily lives.
Just about three years ago, I tipped the scales at 255 pounds. That much weight on a man of my height and build (medium frame; 5′ 7″ tall), is not good; not good at all. My waistline was nearly 46″. Yuck! I look back at pictures of myself and I looked like a balloon waiting to burst. It’s a very good reminder of what can happen when we are not in charge of our health.
I see this a great deal still. The church we used to attend sends out prayer lists and we are still on that list because we know many of the people. We like to be kept in the loop to know how to pray for them. Almost without exception, the prayer requests are for someone’s health. What is so sad is that I fully believe that a great many of these health problems could have been avoided had people just learned how to eat properly and avoid those things that ultimately weaken our systems so that we wind up dealing with many health issues. It’s like a dominoes effect.
This was me and as a Christian, I recall being desperate enough to cry out to God to heal me. Of course, at the time I wanted Him to heal me instantly but as I’ve stated before, had He done so, I never would have found out what I can and should do to avoid encountering those same health issues that I’ve been pulling away from over the past nearly three years.
Not only was I 255 pounds, but my blood pressure was all over the place. Ultimately, it took my cardiologist to put me on FIVE different medications at the same time before my blood pressure came down to manageable levels. He was concerned about what he called my left “bundle blockage” and was relieved after testing to learn that it was simply due to my high blood pressure that would heal itself when he brought my blood pressure down to manageable levels. My “ejection fraction” rate was also very poor; around 30%. This is how much blood gets “ejected” from the heart after it beats. It needed to be at least 50% to be considered in the normal range. Once he began to get my blood pressure under control, he was glad to see my ejection fraction rate go up to 50% in a very short time.
But in reality, these were all symptoms of a problem and as I would learn, I had the key. Let me give you the short of it. Today, nearly three years later, I weigh 188.0 pounds, I am down to being on only TWO blood pressure medications with a BP rate in the low to mid 120’s over mid-70’s. Certainly, part of that has to do with the fact that I’ve lost nearly 70 pounds and I’m continuing to lose. My next goal is 170 so we’ll see if my body takes me there. I’ve also begun sleeping without my CPAP machine for the first time in decades and so far, there have been no ill effects.
Here’s what I have realized. What I eat can hurt me. In fact, it can kill me. All of my life I have been “addicted” to sugary items. The food companies switched out sugar for man-made high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) a number of decades ago. I’ve talked about HFCS before and have noted that it is addictive. When you drink a soda sweetened with HFCS, it does not quench your thirst. In fact, your body wants more of it. This is also true of foods that we eat which contain HFCS. Moreover, HFCS is not something our bodies break down. This ingredient goes directly into our blood stream, unlike pure cane sugar which does get broken down by our systems. The more products I ate laden with HFCS, the more I wanted to eat them. I always felt full, even bloated, slightly sick, lacking in energy, couldn’t think straight, and was often irritable for no apparent reason.
Over the past three years, I’ve gone to a number of doctors (even an endocrinologist) and naturopaths. By far, most of the long-term help and recovery I have received has been from quality naturopaths and even though I live in Georgia, I use one from California because the requirements to become a naturopath in California are much more stringent there. Some naturopaths can even prescribe medications there.
Here is a short quick list of the knowledge I have gained over the past three years:
- I’m MTHFR – a genetic disposition that makes it impossible for my body to absorb and use Folic Acid, which the body needs. For me, I must have a “methylated” form of it; Folate.
- I’ve found that I’m allergic to the following three big ones (but there are others):
- I’m sensitive to:
I know that being gluten-free is somewhat of a fad today, but my sister had Celiac Disease as well as Hashimoto’s Syndrome. She ultimately died because she was overweight and had a weak heart. For me, the gluten sensitivity gene is there somewhere and it’s simply best to avoid it.
Now, you can imagine that if I’m avoiding gluten, wheat, corn, soy, dairy, and HFCS, I’m severely limited in what I can eat or drink. Yes, this is true, but there are substitutes and it all comes back to how much is your health worth to you? It’s worth a great deal to me now that I can compare the way I am not with the way I used to be and for a good portion of my life.
Because I have come so far over such a period of time, I am convinced that what I put in my mouth – either food or drink – can benefit me or destroy me. It is that simple. I’m living proof of it. I take a Probiotic daily. I take a small segment of supplements. I get allergy shots. But the biggest thing I do is avoid the things that I know will bring me harm.
What I have also found is that when I want something sweet, I have a number of sodas to choose from, sodas that are sweetened not with HFCS, but with pure cane sugar. Most of the time, I will drink only have the bottle, sometimes even less. A whole bottle might last me two to three days. With sodas sweetened with HFCS, I couldn’t get enough. How about desserts? Most desserts have HFCS or dairy in them. I choose ice cream made with goat milk because it lacks the casein that is often the problem for people who need to avoid dairy. We use goat milk butter in our house as well. We eat organic when we can. We buy meat that has not been raised on hormones or antibiotics when we can. We have our own chickens and we know what we feed them, but we also buy organic chicken eggs. But the biggest thing we do is avoid the foods that we know are bad for us. We rarely eat out anymore and fast food places don’t even exist for us anymore.
But even though I know how well this “lifestyle” has worked for me, I find it absolutely amazing that you can share this with other people and while they might give you a nod and tell you how interesting that is, there is a huge disconnect for them. They are of the opinion that while it works for me, they don’t necessarily need it because they’re “healthy.” Yet, some of these folks are 40, 50 or more pounds overweight and are on several blood pressure meds. They have no stamina or energy and cannot walk up a short flight of stairs without breathing heavily. Their eyes remain closed to their own need. They simply don’t see it. You could talk to them until you run out of breath and they still wouldn’t get it. It’s because they’re not “hungry” enough for it yet. They don’t see a real personal need for it…yet. They may never.
It breaks my heart to see all the prayer requests coming through that simply ask us to ask God to “heal” a person, or to have “good” test results about some health issue. So much of people’s health issues are directly related to what they eat and drink. Yet, because they like their fried chicken or their beer or soda, they’re not willing to give it up.
It would be like a person sitting down to dinner and sprinkling rat poisoning on their food. They might say it “enhances” the taste of the food, but at what cost? Enough of it and it will kill a person. If we saw someone doing that to themselves, we would grab the rat poison away from them and try to talk some sense into them. We might even call 911 out of concern for their health and safety. We do not do this with the average person though because of what they eat or drink, do we? After all, if you can buy it on a grocery store food shelf, it must be okay, right?
Now, when I think of eating a donut or regular ice cream or having some of what used to be my favorite pizza or a candy bar, I think again. All I have to do is remember what that stuff did to me and it cures me of wanting it anymore. We were attending a function recently where some neighbors were also. We exchanged pleasantries and they both commented on how much weight I had lost. I said, “And it’s gone for good, too. Not coming back!” One said, “Never say never.”
Well, by God’s grace, I can say “never” because I’m all too aware of how dangerous many of the foods are to our bodies that we eat today. Isn’t that tragic, that the big food companies produce our foods with all the fillers, the fake ingredients, the overabundance of sweeteners and all the rest? It simply hooks us to a life of obesity and ill-health. The only way to avoid that is to get off that train altogether. I have done it and I hope you will consider it too.
But I’ve also learned that no matter how much truth you share with people, unless they can actually see it for themselves, they will reject it. They might appear to appreciate what you’re telling them, but if they don’t appreciate it enough to take it to heart, they’re really only giving lip service to it. Ultimately, they will blow your advice off.
It is exactly the same way when talking about a person’s need to receive salvation from Jesus. They may think it’s a great idea. They may even warm up to it, but until they actually see a true need to embrace salvation, they will not do so.
We humans are often too blind to see truth, whether it’s related to our own physical health or spiritual lives. It is part of the curse of having a fallen nature. I truly hope that if you’re a Christian reading this, you will come to grasp the truth behind making and keeping yourself healthy. You can either eat whatever you want and will eventually come to rely on the medical profession to try to improve your health (they can only do so much especially if don’t change your eating habits), as you watch your health slowly fade away from you. You’ll realize one day that you had the ability to change that but didn’t.
If you’re not a Christian and you’re reading this, I want two things for you: First, I want you to be healthy and I believe that comes from our eating habits. What you put into your mouth can destroy good health and create bad health for years to come. You have the power to be healthy. Don’t leave that up to doctors who essentially treat the symptoms you come into their office with, though they’re willing to do that.
Second, I want you to embrace salvation. I want you to understand – whether you “feel” it or not – that you are on a one-way path to eternal separation from the God of the Universe. You don’t have to remain on that path. You can change it and you must. Please read our “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation” page to learn more.
If you change nothing about what you eat, you will develop bad health at some point in the future. That is a certainty. If you change nothing about your present course, which has you going away from God, your soul will perish once you leave this life and enter eternity. I’m asking that you do not let this happen. Consider what you can change about your life and make the right choices.
This is all-too important to ignore or treat with disdain. We Christians have tremendous reasons to “look up” and understand that our citizenship is not here on earth, but in heaven. John tells us that as we focus our hearts and minds on the eventual return of our Lord and the culmination of all things by Him and His eternal power, many cares and concerns in this life will fall away.
Here are various Bible passages that define God’s definition of love. Please go there and take the time to read them, analyze them, contemplate them, and ask the Lord to help you live them. I will state very clearly that I know that I do not love enough (and certainly not perfectly!), and you probably don’t either. This doesn’t mean we ignore sin, but we’d better be spending more time noticing our own sin before we point fingers at others.
The problem with many Christians today (and therefore, Christendom), is that too many of us simply fail to use our God-given brains. We have become complete strangers as far as reason is concerned, as if God wants us to put our critical thinking skills on the shelf and go through life blindly using what we think is faith to determine truth. Even if things don’t make sense, we tell each other to continue on the path that will eventually lead us to understanding. Faith doesn’t determine truth. Faith accepts truth in spite of how it may seem at first. The only way to know truth is to study His Word. This is an act of worship.
As soon as God birthed the Church in Acts 2, Satan lost no time dropping into each generation tares that would look, talk, and act like Christians. These tares would be used by Satan throughout successive generations including this current one to throw monkey wrenches into the works in attempts to derail God’s plans. Satan has never been successful in the long run and will not succeed. While it may appear that at times, he gains the upper hand, he is always on a leash and it is that simple. His defeat is accomplished and his ultimate doom is certain.
Relationships are very much like this. If we do nothing to work on them, they will sour. It is the same with our relationship with God. If we enter into a relationship with Him (which is essentially what salvation is all about), but believe that He is there to make us happy, to reveal that “wonderful” plan of His to us, we may very well be disappointed. God’s “wonderful” plan centers around salvation.
Whether pastors mean to be misleading or not, simply presenting a crowd of people in a sanctuary with the phrase, “God has a wonderful plan for you life!” does not do justice either to God or His Word, at least not without further explanation. God does have a wonderful plan for us and that includes salvation itself. Without salvation, we all die an eternal death, fully and eternally separated from God, enduring only His wrath. That’s the downside of life without salvation.